The Morsi Presidency and the New Balance of Power in Egypt

reu tawfik1 300 05jul12 VIEWPOINT: The Morsi Presidency and the New Balance of Power in EgyptFollowing the first post-revolution parliamentary elections in Egypt, many Egyptians became extremely alarmed about the real prospect of their country becoming fully controlled by Islamists who had just won more than 80 percent of the seats. Also, this initial sweeping victory compelled many Islamists themselves to assert that they were the true representatives of almost all the Egyptian people, and it created a challenge for the efforts of the ruling military council to keep the country secular.

The subsequent poor performance of many elected Islamists in parliament resulted in a significant decline in their popularity. This became evident in the first round of the presidential elections when Islamist candidates combined garnered only about 25 percent of the vote. This percentage roughly represents the proportion of Islamists who would want to implement Sharia law, as well as those people who voted for Islamists because of the social benefits they promised to provide.

These numbers, obviously, came as a shock to Islamists themselves and they gave the ruling military, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the latitude and the comfort it needed to issue a constitutional declaration stripping Islamists of the powers they had gained.

Thus, the Islamist-dominated parliament found itself dissolved, the SCAF assumed legislative powers and gave itself a big say in the drafting of Egypt’s the next constitution. The latter point is considered vital for the future of the country as Islamists – after their initial 80 percent victory – strived to fully take control of the drafting of the new constitution so as to pave the way for making Egypt an Islamic state based on Sharia law.

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